Mattermost, Inc.

Do I really have to file an issue/jump through Jira hoops to submit a PR?

I’m a blind screen reader user. After about 5 minutes or so attempting to use Mattermost, I hit some semi-significant accessibility issues. To wit:

  • The list, table, whatever containing chat messages should be an ARIA live region (I.e. have an aria-live="polite" attribute) so screen readers read incoming chat messages automatically.
  • The user menu containing the link to system settings is not keyboard accessible.

There are probably more, that’s just what I found fairly quickly. So in other words, Mattermost is pretty difficult for me to use in its default state, and not because it needs a different color scheme or I want a new small feature, but as a screen reader user I have to jump through hoops to use it. I pretty much have to contribute to this project if I am to use it at all.

I wanted to submit some PRs and fix these issues rather than just vent about them, but the process looks hugely bureaucratic. Immediately I noticed that the link to the development environment setup instructions in the README.md links to a page which is outdated and links me to another, so I thought I’d submit a PR fixing that, then move onto my accessibility issues. But, in reading your PR guidelines, it looks like every PR first needs a Jira ticket? If I want to fix your README.md, along with various accessibility issues that haven’t been addressed and which will mostly involve adding attributes to HTML tags that won’t at all change things for anyone other than blind screen reader users, do I really need to open Jira tickets and start discussions first?

Because, if so, then I may just file issues pointing folks to the relevant ARIA specs and letting others do the work. Sorry if I seem crabby, but as a blind software developer, I pretty much find myself doing this kind of work for any significant open source project I want to use, and if I was mucking around in critical authentication code or something to make Mattermost integrate with my custom auth system then that’d be one thing. But if I need to file tickets to add non-stylistic attributes to your HTML, which the PR guidelines make it seem like I do, then I may pass.

Thanks for any clarification on this. Hoping I can just do the work without having to fight with another ticketing system, and while Jira isn’t inaccessible as such, it’s kind of a cluttered interface that I don’t particularly enjoy working with.

Hi @ndarilek,

As far as I can tell, so long the changes you need to do, to the HTML properties don’t change visually how mattermost looks, it will count as minor fixes, thus you can submit a PR directly (following the template), of course it should also be contained within certain amount of lines changed.

You can read that at https://docs.mattermost.com/developer/contribution-guide.html

It is fine to submit a PR for a bug or an incremental improvement with less than 20 lines of code change without a Help Wanted issue if the change to existing behavior is small. Some examples include

And below that quote you see links to references of what small can be defined as.

As for the documentation missing or out dated there is this awesome guy around here named @JeffSchering who is always hunting those things down, improving, updating, taking people’s suggestion, if u talk to him I am sure he will point you in the right direction or resolve the documentation issue.

Additionally, mattermost team is very aware of color blind users and I’ve seen suggestions getting modified to allocate visually for those people, of course they may have other priority at hand but they are in no way closed mind to what you are proposing.

I do think that if you can provide more feedback to the team of things needed to make it easier for color blind users to use it, they would review and most likely try to implement it.

But if you can contribute your self like you have said, that would be even better and I am sure they/we would welcome your assistance with open arms.


EDIT: I forgot to mention, there is some shortcut being worked out for keyboard but I am unsure yet how it will turn out, but there was a thread discussing about it around here I will link it here when I find it again or maybe @jasonblais could talk a little bit about it, I know he was directly involved on the discussion about the keyboard shortcut etc.

Here was the link to the shortcut thread Using CTRL/CMD+UP to reply to a message don’t let it intimidate you it started as a simple “reply to messages” and as it delved there was suggestion for accessibility of other contexts and things within perhaps you could add your input there or take a look and see if anything there helps you out towards it.

@ndarilek @prixone First, I apologize for the delay in responding.

Immediately I noticed that the link to the development environment setup instructions in the README.md links to a page which is outdated

This has now been fixed. Thank you very much for the note.

But, in reading your PR guidelines, it looks like every PR first needs a Jira ticket?

In our code contribution guidelines, we mention that it is fine to submit a PR for a bug or an incremental improvement with less than 20 lines of code change without a Help Wanted issue if the change to existing behaviour is small.

So if you have small contributions, we’d be more than happy to review and accept them.

One reason why we recommend having a help wanted ticket for larger features/changes is so that a community member doesn’t spend a lot of time working on something that ultimately gets rejected.

@ndarilek please let me know if you have any questions. Would love to work with you to make Mattermost a better experience for you and others.

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